England vs Montenegro
England are set to take on Montenegro on Thursday evening, in their first Euro 2020 qualifier of the latest international break.
The Three Lions head into the tie sat top of Group A, three points above 2nd placed Czech Republic.
So far, England have played six Euro 2020 qualifiers, in which they have amassed 15 points.
Gareth Southgate’s side have also scored a staggering 26 goals in those six ties, and conceded just six.
As for Montenegro, they are down in 4th spot in Group A, and are yet to secure a single victory in these qualifiers, playing seven, drawing three and losing four.
The last time the two aforementioned sides met was back in March of this year, with England emerging with a comprehensive 5-1 victory.
Here is how England could line up for Thursday’s clash.
Stones to start?
Starting between the sticks, Jordan Pickford has been England’s main shot-stopper for much of Southgate’s tenure in charge of England.
So, it is very likely that we will see the Everton man once again starting on Thursday, as England look to cement their place atop of Group A.
Moving onto the full-backs. Throughout the last couple of international breaks, Southgate has done a fair bit of rotating with his full-backs.
As a result, we will likely see something similar in England’s next two ties.
Given Montenegro are arguably an easier test than England’s next opponents, Kosovo, we could see the more attack-minded Trent Alexander-Arnold given a run-out on Thursday, with the more experienced Kieran Trippier starting on Sunday.
In a similar fashion, we could see the less experienced Ben Chilwell given the nod vs Montenegro, with Danny Rose starting vs Kosovo.
As for England’s central defenders, like Pickford, Harry Maguire is pretty much nailed on to start for England.
That just leaves one spot open in the back-four, and with John Stones back fit, the Manchester City man could once again be set to be given a chance to prove his worth for England.
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An attacking midfield trio
As mentioned above, Montenegro haven’t exactly shown their quality over the course of the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
So, Southgate may be inclined to play a fairly attack-minded midfield trio.
With Declan Rice not in great form for his club, Fabian Delph out of the squad and Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson suspended for Thursday’s game, we could see Tottenham’s Harry Winks sat in the deep role of England’s midfield trio.
That would leave two spots open, and with Ross Barkley having also withdrawn from the squad, Southgate could unleash James Maddison and Mason Mount on Montenegro.
Both players have had bright starts to the 2019/20 campaign for their clubs, and should cause a struggling Montenegro side a fair few problems.
Who replaces Sterling?
England’s best attacking trio is arguably made up of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho.
Both Kane and Sancho are likely to be in from the off on Thursday, as well.
But, after Sterling’s incident with Joe Gomez earlier this week, England confirmed via their official Twitter account that the attacker will play no part vs Montenegro.
— England (@England) November 11, 2019
That leaves one spot open in England’s frontline.
And, given the options currently available to Southgate, it is probably a straight choice between Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcus Rashford.
Based on the pair’s club form and their experience with England, Southgate may opt for Rashford over CHO.
Rashford has racked up 36 appearances for England, and has been in solid form for Manchester United of late, scoring three and assisting one in his last four league ties.
Hudson-Odoi, on the other hand, has made just two appearances for England’s senior side, and hasn’t started in Chelsea’s last three PL clashes.
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